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'I can't quit': Iconic Cleveland baseball drummer John Adams gives update amid health issues

'I have too much to do and too much to look forward to.'

CLEVELAND — John Adams is a true Cleveland legend, the echo of his drum filling the ballpark for decades.

But his seat just beneath the scoreboard at Progressive Field has been empty since 2019 as Adams has been dealing with some health issues.

And baseball in Cleveland just hasn't felt the same. 

“It’s difficult and a lot of setbacks,” Adams tells 3News in a new interview. “It wasn’t just one. It was a lot. But I can’t quit. That’s when you lose is when you quit. I have too much to do and too much to look forward to.”

What started out as a routine checkup at Cleveland Clinic over a bloated stomach turned into Adams learning from his doctor that his thyroid was failing and he was having a heart attack.

Adams couldn't believe it. 

But through it all, he maintains a "glass half-full" approach to his life. 

"I'm going to do it," John says. "I'm going to make it."

John Adams is Cleveland baseball. What began as a fun idea for him to bring a drum to a game at old Municipal Stadium in August of 1973 suddenly continued day after day for nearly five decades. He ultimately attended more than 3,700 games.

And even with all he's been through, you better believe Adams is watching his favorite baseball team. He's watching every single game.

"I'm glad Tito (Terry Francona) is our manager. He gets the best out of everybody," John adds.

And maybe, just maybe, these new-look Guardians can do the unthinkable and win a World Series. Adams would love to be there to see it.

"That's part of my plan. I'm going to get back up to the top of the bleachers and start making some noise," he says. 

The Cleveland Guardians recently honored Adams by inducting him into the team’s Distinguished Hall of Fame for non-uniformed personnel.

Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published in a previous story on Aug. 24, 2022.

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